The Reds’ 2011 Rotation

The Reds have an abundance of major league starters under team control in 2011. Mike Leake, Homer Bailey and Travis Wood are not yet arbitration-eligible and Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. All except Wood, a 2005 second-rounder, ranked among Baseball America's top 100 prospects before they became prominent major leaguers. That's an entire rotation's worth of former top prospects and they're all still cheap.

Of course it takes more than five starters to get through a season. The Rays, who relied on their own quintet for the first four months of the year, are finding that out now that Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann have sore shoulders. Tampa Bay has more pitching depth than most teams, so they can call on Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine. Like the 2010 Rays, next year's Reds should have rotation depth.

They will be able to stretch out Micah Owings or call on one of three minor leaguers. Aroldis Chapman, who is now pitching out of the bullpen, has the potential to be a frontline starter, according to Baseball America. The left-hander has a 3.90 ERA with 11.3 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 at Triple A this year and has allowed less than one hit per inning pitched, though his command clearly needs work.

A pair of 26-year-old starters are pitching well at Triple A. Right-hander Sam LeCure has a 3.15 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 for Louisville and left-hander Matt Maloney has a 3.36 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Those two starters won't make more than the MLB minimum in 2011 and even Owings (headed to arbitration for the first time) and Chapman ($1MM salary) are affordable.

That kind of depth means Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo don't have obvious roles on next year's club. Both veterans have $2MM buyouts for expensive 2011 options, and at this point, it's extremely hard to imagine the Reds picking up both options. The Reds are probably not going to pay $23.75MM to bring Arroyo and Harang back when they have so many affordable and potentially effective arms around. 

It's easy to over-estimate pitching depth; injuries and unexpected performances can change plans. Arroyo, who has pitched well this year, would not re-structure his contract, but the Reds could decline his option and try to bring him back for less. The same goes for Harang, who has some value even though he has been hittable this year. 

Harang's $12.75MM option isn't worth picking up and Arroyo's $11MM option is no bargain, either. It would be a major surprise to see the Reds bring both pitchers back, but they could re-sign one for depth. For now, that's the last thing the Reds are concerned about. Both pitchers will be part of the club's late-season push for its first playoff berth in 15 years.


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52 Comments on "The Reds’ 2011 Rotation"


mrsjohnmiltonrocks
5 years 24 days ago

I don’t know if I were the Reds I’d let Arroyo go. While not a great pitcher, he’s been a good pitcher, a sturdy pitcher, and sort of the heart and soul of the staff. He has given them innings, lots of them, been a good citizen, popular with fans and takes his craft seriously. You could do worse than have him around as you fill the rotation around him with all of the youngsters and youngish veterans.

He has said he’s not interested in restructuring his contract or signing for a discount; the last time he did that the Red Sox turned around and traded him. Even though he might be worth keeping around, they probably buy Arroyo out.

Harang has always been a poor fit for that park. They would be doing him a favor by letting him go.

bjsguess
5 years 24 days ago

5 consecutive years of 200+ innings is worth something. As you say, he isn’t a standout pitcher but with so many young guns, having a guy that you can give the ball to every 5th day is important.

All comes down to what Arroyo can get. Going into his age 34 season it’s hard to imagine that he’ll get 3 years guaranteed. Maybe a 2/20 type deal with an option for year 3. That would seem like a reasonable price for the Reds. Worst case scenario is you have too much pitching and you end up having to move a young starter. Yeah – that’s not too bad of a worst case scenario.

Guest
5 years 24 days ago

“Worst case scenario is you have too much pitching and you end up having to move a young starter. Yeah – that’s not too bad of a worst case scenario.”

You can never have enough pitching.

5 years 24 days ago

Arroyo is worth bringing back. The Reds look to be competitive again next year and will need a veteran starter. If they do not pick up his option, they need to look elsewhere for playoff ready pitching.

GeronimoJansen
5 years 24 days ago

Damn I’m really jealous of the Reds’ pitching stuff. Lucky fans…

Guest
5 years 24 days ago

As a Reds fan, I never thought I would EVER read a comment like that

Alex
5 years 24 days ago

Definitely agreed with the first two posters. Harang can be let go, but Arroyo should be kept for some stability and veteran presence.

RedSox2219
5 years 24 days ago

Arroyo also is a innings eater as well. Which bodes well when you may want to cap Leake and Bailey’s innings.

bevothephenom
5 years 24 days ago

all you can say is…wow

myname_989
5 years 24 days ago

SPAN and I talked this up the other night. Even in that conversation, in which I talked about the Reds having a really good rotation, I didn’t realize just how much depth they had. They have a ton of options. There SP depth is so great, and with other decent prospects, I could see them building a really nice proposal for a front line starter. Maybe the Royals and Reds can match up on a Zach Greinke trade? Pick up Arroyo’s option. That’s a really nice rotation.

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
5 years 24 days ago

That’s the great thing for them. They have a lot of depth in the one commodity almost every team is looking for. I hope they treat it like treasure-pitching depth sometimes disappears in a hurry. It still looks like they can trade some of it for more established pitchers and try to fill other positions. Do it carefully though so you have some for yourself.

Ethanator99
5 years 24 days ago

It’s a good time to be a Reds fan. Well, except for tonight.

jmag043
5 years 24 days ago

Teams would line up to take Homer Bailey from the Reds.

bjsguess
5 years 24 days ago

How long does his prospect star shine for?

He’s 24 now. Been up and down in the bigs for 4 years. His career FIP is just a tick under 5. He’s been worth 2 WAR in over 245 major league innings. He’s still young and has time to improve but I am starting to worry about him. He’s turning into the pitching version of Brandon Wood.

Guest
5 years 24 days ago

I think he’s the next Eric Gagne/Octavio Dotel

Ethanator99
5 years 24 days ago

Webb seems like a very real possibility. And yes, teams would be lining up for Homer.

5 years 24 days ago

I don’t know… Just seems like every time Bailey is up in the major with the exception of Fall 2009, he just is real inconsistent. I worry about him he has a lot of odd injuries it seems like every year he has some kind of little injury. Just never really cared for him. don’t even know why. Only time he has shown me promise was in Aug. Sept. last year.

gmblngptchr20
5 years 24 days ago

Well, I’ve been a Reds fan for quite a while, and It’s definitely a great time to be a reds fan with the current pitching Depth.

Cueto, Leake, Volquez are going absolutely no where. I cannot imagine trading any of those guys. The ONLY guy I would consider trading Leake for would be Lincecum, and maybe Felix Hernandez. So like I said, those 3 probably arent going to go anywhere. I like Homer Bailey, a lot. Not as much as Wood, wood works fast, throws strikes, and just barely lost the 5th spot to Leake to start the year.

Bailey is expendable, but he has pitched so badly at times, and so great at times, that it’s hard for Reds fans to actually gauge his trade value. I think Arroyo’s option should absolutely be picked up. Then, try to package Bailey and Maloney, and possibly Alonso (who is blocked by Votto) and go for Grenkie. Whoever said that I totally agree because he is the type of guy that is young, and a veteran presence. Arroyo has been way too dependable, and I think with Harang’s money coming off the books, even with arb raises and Phillip’s raise the Reds could afford to have two expensive pitchers in their rotation.

Since MLBTR doesnt talk about the Reds a bit, I will continue. Reds also need a shortstop for the future, because i really do not trust Paul Janish daily. I know it’s crazy, but is there any chance in the world the Marlins trade Hanley? Wood, Bailey, Alonso, and someone like Frazier, Fransisco, or Valkia would be quite a catch for a team always looking to rebuild. I know it’s a terrible longshot and I am by no means under-valuing Hanley, because I actually think a lot of Reds fans would be terribly upset with trading that many youngsters. But can you imagine Phillips, Votto, and Hanley all in the same lineup..

bw831
5 years 24 days ago

That’s hilarious: You’d trade Leake for Lincecum or Hernandez, but no one else. I don’t think teams are throwing the bus at you for him. He’s done and it’s a shame that the Reds are going to fade away because while I hate every team in the Central as a Pirates fan, I hate the Cardinals the most. I’d love to see the Reds win the division, but with two rookie starters – one of whom is Leak-ing oil badly – I don’t see it happening.

Guest
5 years 24 days ago

Leake won’t get many starts down the stretch. Harang and Bailey will see to that

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

Walt was quoted saying Bailey will start to learn to pitch from the pen because the rotation is set.

5 years 24 days ago

I am getting the feeling that they might shut Leake down. He has had a couple really poor performances as of late. I know he has been skipped a few times in the rotation already too and maybe with less work he is having issue with his mechanics. I think they should shut Leake down for the season if he has another poor start. Also Harrang and Bailey should be back soon and I don’t see the Reds falling out of contention at lest with what we have.

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

dont need them to throw a bus, but there are plenty of players around the league who are more valuable to that team than they might be to others.

but a 22 year old who has performed pretty well so far in the majors, is a commodity.

T Morgan
5 years 24 days ago

Don’t really see Marlins trading Hanley mainly because of all of the complaining and the MLB pushing them to increase payroll.. And I’m pretty sure the Fish are pretty deep in pitching too.. But don’t hold me to that..

5 years 24 days ago

Well we do have some hitting prospects too if thats what they need.

bjsguess
5 years 24 days ago

You are crazy if you believe that Leake right now is the 3rd most valuable pitcher in baseball. A 23 YO starting pitcher with a FIP in the 4.50 range isn’t all that amazing. A guy like Hanson is a year older and is on his way to his 2nd great season as a starter (6 WAR in 250 innings). Leake has 1.4 WAR in about half that time. Hanley is definitely an option – despite what people on this site say. The Fish have shown no fear in trading away franchise type players. And while Hanley is a bargain still, his price tag continues to rise. Couple that with his relatively poor season (by his standards) and the Fish would have to listen. Not sure your package would be enough. I’m guessing that the Marlins would need AT LEAST one can’t miss prospect. And while you put forward an intriguing list of guys with potential I just don’t see a centerpiece. You would probably need to part with Cueto or Leake + others. Ramirez is such an amazing talent. You won’t land a player coming off back to back 7 WAR seasons with just really good guys. You need an absolute stud to anchor the deal.

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

I didnt say that he is the 3rd most valuable, but when you look at the Reds current payroll situation, and all the young pitching, raises to Phillips, Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Volquez all entering arbitration there arent many pitchers I would be willing to give up Leake for. Cain is clearly a better pitcher, but gotta look at salary and playing time. By no means do I tihnk Leake is as good as I accidentally portrayed, but in terms of youth, service time, and the current team, I wouldnt trade Leake for very much.

jwredsox
5 years 24 days ago

Calm down a bit with the Leake love. He had the most polish in his draft class (which is why he started in majors) but just because he skipped the minors doesn’t mean his ceiling is as an ace (which is isn’t). He is good but his upside is limited.

5 years 24 days ago

I see Leake as a # 2 or 3 guy in a rotation.

jwredsox
5 years 24 days ago

Well to do that he either needs to bring his K rate up to respectable or lead the league in GB%. His GB% would be good if he K’d over 7 or 8 per 9 but at just over 5 it is way too low.

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

If im not mistaking his GB% is right up there with the tops in the league

jwredsox
5 years 23 days ago

I said lead the league. Not near the top. even 50% is too low with his K rate.

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

there’s a reason he’s up there with chris carpenter for grounded into double plays. if you watch him pitch, on a good day, he commands all both side of the plate with all ptiches, keeping hitters terrible off-balance.

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

absolutely. a very solid 2 or 3 guy who has a very easy delivery, throws strikes, and is a very good fielder and hitter

gmblngptchr20
5 years 23 days ago

of course not, but he is young, controllable for years, and he works fast and throws strikes. why would we trade him. hes a right handed version of Buehrle (hopefully)

Yankees420
5 years 24 days ago

I think targeting Stephen Drew would be more realistic, I’m not sure how much they value him, but the D’backs are desperate for pitching, so they match up well with the Reds.

5 years 24 days ago

I don’t know what it would take to get Hanley but I am all for it. I think he is a top notch SS and love his hard playing style. Janish has surprised me a little this year with his bat. Seems like he is hitting the best he has ever since he was in the Bigs.

T Morgan
5 years 24 days ago

The reds do have a ton of pitching depth, major league ready or very near. I think they’d be best served trading some of it to teams desperate for arms in the off season and pick up a SS or something.. And pick up some arms that aren’t ready yet but project for three or four years from now.. It’s great to have depth at SP but sometimes you need to move it for something else.. Hope wren does that for Atl.. We are in need of everything but C 2B RF and pitching BP or SP..

T Morgan
5 years 24 days ago

Meant to say 1B too.. Looks like Freeman is legit..

5 years 24 days ago

You can never have enough pitching depth, especially when over half of them have innings limits (Dusty Baker says limits be damned Prior style). If I’m the Reds, I get MORE by signing Brandon Webb to an incentive laden deal, and use Juan Francisco/Yonder Alonso as trade chips.

schellis
5 years 24 days ago

In my dream off season I trade for Greinke, sign Carl Crawford, and sign Webb to a incentive heavy make good deal.

Arroyo and Harang will walk in this scenario, Arroyo being offered arbitration. While Arroyo has been very good I always worry that he’ll lose a tick off his stuff that may just be enough for him to be hammered, he has a very small window for error.

I turn SS over to Cozart and hope he can hit well enough to stick. Janish can be the backup and I either let Cabrera walk (if the second year is a option) or I release him.

These moves would give the Reds the best OF defense in the majors Crawford/Stubbs/Bruce, a very strong IF defense, the pitching would be outstanding if Webb comes back strong or the kids continue to develop.

Offensively they’ll be a solid team especially if the light comes on for Bruce, and it will come on.

For catcher they’ll have Mesaroco ready probably by mid-season if not sooner.

The only major question mark I think they have is who gets the ball in the 9th.

5 years 24 days ago

Cordero is still signed for next year. and unless he gets injured that is who they will go to cause they are paying him a ton of money.

RedbirdRuffian
5 years 24 days ago

I’d like to see Jocketty leverage some of that pitching depth into another top-flite hitter most likely an outfielder. Look around, who has a shortage of pitching and a surplus hitter? I like Janish and think he can be everyday, and the Reds have beeen smart spoon-feeding him this year behind Cabrera so he can build some confidence at the plate. No question about his defense, and if he can hit 260ish he is worth it, if he can’t break the Mendoza line lets take a look at Cozart. Wonder how Homer would do in the closer’s role, he seems to have a short attention span which gets him in trouble as a starter but his stuff is electric when he’s focused.

jmag043
5 years 24 days ago

Bailey still has too much value/potential as a SP to warrant a bullpen move. However, 1 more injury and he may find himself there.

5 years 24 days ago

I have often wondered if Bailey would do well as a late inning guy myself. His inconsistent starting has me thinking this might be a good option for him.

Ferrariman
5 years 24 days ago

i wonder how much payroll room they will have left with a BIG arbitration raise coming to cueto and votto. philips gets more expensive as well. their really doesn’t seem to be AS much payroll room as it would appear on the surface.

5 years 24 days ago

If the Reds don’t keep Arroyo and Harrang both then their will be some spending money for sure even after the raises. I would like to see the Reds sign Votto to a multi-year deal maybe Phillips too. Even after Arb though, I could see their being enough money to make a pretty good splash on the Free agent market. Like people above have said give Webb a minor league deal too and see what he can do for us.

BigRedOne
5 years 18 days ago

Let’s not forget Travis Wood. He looks sensational. The Reds ‘untouchables’ need to be Volquez, Chapman, Cueto, Leake and Wood. Bailey would be nice to keep for depth. I think Harang and Owings are definitely gone. If the Reds are looking to trade young pitchers, than Lecure and Maloney are the candidates.

BigRedOne
5 years 18 days ago

Oh, one more thing. Even though Baseball is a business, if there is any organization in baseball where the players feel like they’re family, it’s the Reds. Votto won’t even go to arbitration, the Reds are going to make him the franchise this offseason with an exlcusive long-term deal. Joey likes Cincinnati and the Reds like Joey. Walt will make it happen.

4 years 11 months ago

The Reds will be in a very strong position next year not matter what they do with Harang/Arroyo.